Yes, still several months after an end of summer trip to Burma, I’ve yet to get around to publishing all the images that I wanted to share. A hefty collection of the remains are here, and probably one more post will follow soon to wrap everything up. These images were captured around the capital, Yangon, as I explored it over several days. Given the quantity of images I want to present here, I’ve decided to divide them into a sort of few mini-essays for easier consumption.

Transportation

The first method one may use to navigate this urban spread are the fleet of aging taxis that ply the streets. Most, if not all, of them in Yangon are decades old, and in various states of disrepair. It seems the only requirement for obtaining a license for using your car as a taxi, is the ability to post a sign on the roof, and your photo on the dashboard, declaring your services as such.

A taxi driver in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

This was one of the few meter taxis I found. More often, drivers and passengers employ the negotiation system to reach a final fare.

The traffic in Yangon, Myanmar, as seen through the back of an aging taxi. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

A street scene viewed through a taxi in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

For most locals with limited income, taking taxis on a regular basis is simply not feasible. There are busses of course, as you’ll see below, but many it seems still opt to move about on foot, sometimes walking several hours a day in the rain and heat to reach their destinations.

A man crosses the street in Yangon, Myanmar, as seen through the driver of a trishaw, the local form of bicycle transport. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

The form of transport partially visible here, called a trishaw or sidecar, is sort of unique to Burma. While most South East Asian countries have some type of pedaled passenger vehicle, these found in Yangon and elsewhere in the country, are different in that, the passenger rides in a small wooden sidecar to the right of the driver, where as most other nearby nation’s versions put the passenger either in front or behind.

Men walk the railroad tracks in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

For those needing to travel outside the city limits, the circular railway that loops through rural suburbs and back to the city is good option. Walking along the tracks will also work, and is probably not that much slower.

A street scene in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

The beds of small pick up trucks lined with benches that provide transport from fixed points also serve as option of travel for many locals.

A street scene in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

A street scene in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

Being a capital city, busses of course also serve some of the needs of the people. For those familiar with South East Asia, you may notice something missing here in our exploration of means of transport. We’ve seen all the usual suspects, taxi, bus, train, bike and foot, but what is missing? What does my city of Saigon have ten of millions of that Yangon barely has at all?  Motorbikes! Motorized two-wheeled transport, ubiquitous in most of the region, are reserved only for government officials in  Yangon. That’s probably why the city was so peaceful, and why I liked it so much.

The Docks

One of the more fascinating places I came across in the city were the docks along the river where large ships carry both cargo and people in and away from the capital. Vessels loaded with thousands of bags of rice and other goods are manually loaded and unloaded every day. For most Burmese, intense manual labor is just a way of life and survival.

Workers manually unload thousands of sacks of rice and other products from large ships on the docks of Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

A small bridge connecting the land with the docks for large ships becomes an area for vendors of all kinds to attempt to unload their goods. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

The bridges connecting the dockside to the mainland are the major arteries for the goods arriving or departing, as well as for numerous vendors who take up space on its edges, hoping to capitalize on the non-stop flow of traffic.

Workers manually unload thousands of sacks of rice and other products from large ships on the docks of Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

On the side of firm land, trucks wait to be filled or emptied by the steady stream of workers making the trip to and from the docks countless times per day.

A vendor tries to sell her goods to passengers waiting for a large ship to carry them from the Yangon, back to their homes on the small islands that outlie it. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

Meanwhile, in the bowels of the ship, some wait for the ship to be ready for departure, while others try to distribute their goods.

A man rests in the bowels of a ship as it's being unloaded at the docks in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

Others still take a brief opportunity for a nap.

Street Scenes

A local vendor sells the ubiquitous Kunya, the Burmese version of betel nut, which when chewed, produces a bright red spit and black stained teeth. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

A local vendor sells the ever popular Kunya, the Burmese version of betel nut, which when chewed, produces a bright red spit and black stained teeth.

A local vendor sells the ubiquitous Kunya, the Burmese version of betel nut, which when chewed, produces a bright red spit and black stained teeth. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

A street scene in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

If my memory serves me correctly, it was this man in the foreground that offered the only mild resistance to being photographed that I came across during my whole stay in the country.

The Sule Pagoda which resides in the center of a large traffic circle in downtown Yangon, Myanmar provides a backdrop for a local bus stop. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

The Sule Pagoda, which rests in the middle of a large traffic circle, provides a backdrop for a scene of typical daily life in Yangon.

A boy chases his football down the steps of an overpass in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

A youngster chases his ball down the steps of an overpass connecting the Sule Pagoda with the roadside.

A man in a tradional Burmese longyi passes by a shop with a large stock of sandals on offer, in the Scott market in Yangon. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

A shop is filled with thousands of pairs of sandals at the Bogyoke (pronounced Bojo) market, named after the famous Burmese general, and father of the recently released democratic hero Aung San Suu Kyi.

A man shows his crabs for sale in a busy market in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

In another market downtown, a man displays for my camera his live goods on offer.

A street scene in Yangon, Myanmar. (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

This shopping center that has seen better days I think gives a good idea of the general condition of most of the city. It’s slow deterioration, I believe gives Yangon much of its charm.

Hninzigone Home For The Aged

This final collection of images takes us to an elderly home I passed by quite a few times while travelling from my friend’s house where I was staying, toward downtown, or elsewhere in the city. Finally, nearing the end of my trip, I learned that I could visit, and with my newly befriended monk as a guide, we did just that. We were received warmly by the man shown in the last frame, who spoke English surprising well, and given a brief tour around the facilities. I originally had thoughts of a larger story emerging from here, but given that I visited toward the end of my time in Yangon, coupled with what I was able to see on this visit, lead me to believe that these few images are probably it for now.

 (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

Quiet time for meditation in a large chapel-like room is a big part of the residents’ days here.

 (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

In a ward caring for those with health problems, residents watch religious programming on TV.

 (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

 (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

Others with enough strength are encouraged to excercise to help maintain their bodies.

 (Quinn Ryan Mattingly)

And finally, a quick cameo of yours truly, taken by my friend who was with me this day. As I always shoot with my camera in manual mode, usually anyone who picks it up and tries to take these photos of me (though much appreciated), either drastically under or overexposes the frame, not knowing any better or how to set the camera properly. This one was quite dark, but I was able to rescue it enough to post here, and at least there were a few photos of me taken on this trip. Here, after the visit, I donated what I had on me at the time, ten dollars. If you look at the box, you’ll see a few zeros are covered up, very minimally hiding the fact that others probably give a lot more than I did. But oh well, it’s the thought that counts. Right?